Give Caterers an Advantage with CVap®


Caterers, like others in the hospitality industry, face their share of challenges. Among
them are assuring food safety, maintaining food quality, and providing fast
service. Critically, falling short in any of these areas can damage your reputation and threaten
your business. Winston’s CVap® equipment can provide solutions

Maintaining Safe Food Temperatures

According to the CDC, one of the top causes of foodborne illness is allowing food to remain at an unsafe temperature for too long. Consequently, the importance of maintaining safe food temperatures cannot be overstated. In fact, being the source of an illness outbreak can crush a business. Undoubtedly, CVap equipment is a powerful tool for serving food safely. CVap Cook and Hold and Retherm Ovens are engineered to efficiently transition food temperature through the danger zone well within FSIS guidelines. Indeed, all CVap holding and cooking equipment can reliably maintain food at safe temperatures for extended periods, without quality loss.

caterers chafing dishes

Bringing the Power of Heated Vapor to Caterers

Unique technology sets CVap equipment apart from other brands. All food is comprised mostly of water. Consequently, food’s high water content causes food moisture to behave like water when heated. Uniquely, CVap utilizes heated water vapor as its primary heat source. Thermodynamics dictates that once food temperature equalizes with the vapor temperature it cannot fall below it. CVap offers food temperature precision that is unmatched by our competitors. Additionally, add an optional food probe (Series 7 models) to collect food temperatures and utilize CVap’s integrated temperature collection feature to document all your HACCP data.

Although one might think that vapor heat would result in soggy food, that’s not the case. In fact, CVap technology also utilizes a second, dry air heat. Accordingly, this air heat serves to control moisture evaporation from the food’s surface. Consequently, air heat allows you to select the texture of food, from moist to crisp. Together, the vapor heat and air heat work in tandem to cook and maintain food exactly as desired.


Avoiding Contamination

According to the CDC, the other critical risk to food safety is contamination. Of course, contamination risks encompass areas throughout your operation. But keeping equipment clean is critical to reducing contamination risks. To that endeavor, CVap equipment is designed for easy cleaning.
To that end, rails and flues are easily removable. Stainless steel interiors are accessible and durable. Undoubtedly, daily cleaning assures equipment is free of illness-causing chemicals and residue. Indeed, not only does cleaning protect your patrons, but it also protects your warranty.

Serving Quality and Quantity


Indeed, caterers face the constant challenge of serving large numbers quickly. Clearly, they must do so without sacrificing food quality. Undoubtedly, nobody wants the infamous rubber chicken meal. Of course, CVap equipment offers capacities as large as 14 full-sheet pans. Clearly, large capacities, paired with precise food quality control, means you can serve dozens of meals quickly. Since CVap equipment maintains peak quality for extended times, you can prepare well ahead of serving, and still maintain just-cooked freshness.


Staging is another helpful process. For this purpose, food can be cooked and held at a precise setpoint and then finished in a few minutes on a grill or plancha. Undoubtedly, staging is perfect for proteins. You can achieve sous vide temperature precision. Food’s interior will be uniformly cooked, end to end and top to bottom. Finishing provides the seared exterior or grill marks diners expect. All can be done quickly, improving serving time.

Staffing, and Skills

Hiring and keeping competent staff has always been a challenge for caterers. Undoubtedly, the pandemic and its aftermath have exacerbated that struggle. Indeed, the nature of catering businesses tends to attract younger workers, such as high school and college students. Consequently, high turnover is a given. Skill levels can vary widely. Accordingly, equipment must be easy to use and require minimal training.

CVap ovens and holding cabinets have eight preprogrammed channels. Of course, these channels encompass the most common cooking and holding processes. Each channel can be re-programmed to custom-fit your menu. Additionally, controls can be locked to prevent unauthorized setting changes. Undoubtedly, push-button simplicity makes CVap easy to use, even for untrained new hires.

caterer plates

Because CVap automates so many tasks, it can even reduce the amount of labor necessary to execute events. In fact, ovens transition to an automatic hold, meaning no babysitting is needed. Without a doubt, extended hold times maintain high food quality until the staff is ready to serve. To be sure, overnight cooking and delayed startup mean your equipment is working even when nobody’s in the kitchen.

Serving sous vide? In fact, a  single CVap oven can match the cooking capacity of a kitchen full of immersion circulators. Add in the fact that sous vide bags are optional in CVap, and you’ve got a serious labor (and space) saver.

caterer food waste

Food Waste

Food waste is a huge problem across all sectors of the hospitality industry. For caterers, it’s a particularly daunting challenge. Food is money. Nobody can afford to waste it. But no caterer wants to host an event and run out of food. Walking that fine line of providing enough, but not wasting is a never-ending fight. Having to throw out food that’s of questionable integrity is even more painful.

CVap can help reduce waste. Our ovens can be programmed for high-yield cooking, resulting in better yields and more servings per primal cut.

Sizes and Configurations to Suit Every Caterer's Situation

Catering jobs come in all sizes, from small gatherings to large venues. In fact, CVap ovens and holding cabinets are available in a wide range of sizes, from the large 14-pan to the under-counter 4-pan model. Indeed, CVap Hold and Serve Drawers are designed for small spaces, perfect for kiosks, food trucks, and serving stations. Though they’re small, they deliver the same high performance as our larger CVap models.

Of course, mobility is a frequent necessity for caterers. To that end, CVap equipment features casters, making it easy to shift it where you need it. Optional transport packages enhance mobility with heavy-duty wheels, push-pull handles, evaporator cover, and cord wrap. The fact that CVap equipment doesn’t require a vent hood or permanent plumbing means you can use it about anywhere with sufficient power available. Prepare food in the kitchen and roll it to the serving area without unloading. It’s easy with CVap.

Critically, Winston offers CVap in the size, configuration, and option levels that caterers need, whatever your volume or budget.

Need help deciding what equipment is best for your catering business? Contact us for one-on-one help to equip you to succeed. We’re happy to help!


cvap equipment sizes

Barbecue in a CVap® Oven – Smoking & Holding

barbecue platter

CVap® ovens are well-known for their versatility and precision. These qualities make them particularly well-suited for barbecue operations. Barbecue is the realm of low and slow cooking. And nothing does low and slow better than CVap.

We wanted to test the most popular proteins for most BBQ joints, pork ribs, beef brisket, and chicken. First, we needed the perfect rub.

The Seasoning Blend

Prepare the seasoning blend and set it aside.

The Proteins

  • Pork Back Ribs – 3 to 4 Lbs.
  • Whole Chickens – 3 Lbs.
  • Whole Brisket – 17 Lbs.

The Barbecue Process

Pork Back Ribs – RTV5-14UV with the Winston Smoker Box

Cook Time approximately 5 hours
Cook Vapor 190°F / Air 220°F

Hold Infinite
Hold Vapor 135°F / Air 145°F

Holding ribs for an extended time in CVap ovens is beneficial to food quality. The long, slow heat dissolves the connective tissue within the meat. For pull-off-the-bone tenderness, we recommend a five-hour hold. To get fall-off-the-bone tender, extend the hold to six hours.


It’s important to remember that the cooking time depends on the size of the product and the orientation of the product in the pan. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Get similar-sized ribs for a similar time cook. We used 2.75-3.25 Lbs.
  • If you get larger or smaller ribs, just adjust the time accordingly:
    • Increase time for larger ribs; >3.5 Lbs. +.
    • Decrease time for smaller ribs; <2.5 Lbs.
  • Increase time if preparing more than 5-6 ribs
    • Increasing the thermal load increases the time it takes to reach the desired temperature and texture.
  • If you shingle the ribs to get more per shelf, you’ll need to increase the cooking time.
  1. Remove back ribs from packaging.

  2. Score backside (bone side) with a paring knife.

  3. Liberally season both sides of each rib. Allow the seasoned ribs to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. Place ribs onto a rack in the preheated oven. Keep placement in a single layer, bone-side down.

**Chef’s Tips – We recommend placing a foil-lined sheet pan on the bottom shelf, just above the smoker. This will catch the product’s drippings and make cleanup easier.

Engaging Barbecue with the Winston Smoker Box

  1. Plug the timer into the wall and ensure the smoker box is connected to the timer. We like to use mixed wood pellets as the smoke medium. However, sawdust or smaller chips (no bigger than a fingernail) can be used.

  2. Adjust the timer to start the heating element, and add your smoke medium onto the heating element inside the smoker box.

  3. Place the smoker box on a sheet pan inside the oven on a bottom rack, just above the evaporator. The box takes about 15-20 minutes to preheat and start smoldering. We smoked the ribs for about 3-4 hours.

  4. Press ENTER once the product is placed inside, and the smoker is filled and in place.

Whole Brisket – RTV5-14UV with the Winston Smoker Kit

Cook Time – 9 Hours
Cook Vapor – 190°F / Air – 220°F

Hold – Infinite
Hold Vapor – 135°F / Air – 145°F

  1. Use the same barbecue seasoning blend as the pork ribs.
  2. Trim the brisket’s top and side fat, and between the point and flat.
  3. Season liberally on all sides, and in between the two muscles.
  4. Place brisket onto a rack in the preheated oven.
  5. Engage the Winston Smoker Box. We used mixed wood pellets for about 6 hours.

Whole Chicken – RTV5-14UV with the Winston Smoker Box

Cook Time – 3 Hours
Cook Vapor – 170°F / Air – 300°F

Use the same seasoning blend as the pork rib and brisket…yes, it’s that universal AND that good!

  1. Pat the chicken dry and season liberally on all sides, under the wings, legs, and inside the cavity.
  2. Place chickens on a rack in the preheated oven.
    Be careful not to crowd.
  3. Engage the Winston Smoker Box. We used mixed wood pellets for about two hours. Check internal temperature. As with any poultry, it’s important to cook to at least 165°F.

2-Top Turn & Burn Dinner for Two

dinner for two

Ah, Date Night. It’s a staple of romantic relationships. Like so much in our lives, the pandemic derailed it. But it finally looks like things may be getting back way they were before the virus. This means you’ll likely be seeing an uptick in the number of couples who want to get out of the house and have a good, old-fashioned evening out. Dinner for two has never been more important.

My goal for this presentation was to demonstrate how easy it is to prepare an impressive multi-course dinner for two, keeping the execution almost entirely with CVap. I also utilized an induction burner and a chargrill to assist with prep and finishing.

The inspiration for this comes from my days as a sous chef at Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Kentucky. This great restaurant is run by Executive Chef and owner Ouita Michel. During high-demand times of the year (such as Valentine’s Day), the Inn would be transformed into five rooms of “2-tops,” which is restaurant lingo for a table set dinner for two.

dinner for two

Virtually every fine dining establishment is packed with 2-tops that triple or even quadruple the amount of turns in a dining room for big holidays. The trick is to accommodate as many people as possible, without killing the kitchen. Having a set menu is key. It requires a kickass support team, kickass equipment, and some finely researched and executed techniques in the toolbox to pull it off! Dinner for two, multiplied!

Dinner for Two – The Menu

  • Soup – Tomato Basil Bisque, Buttered Croutons, and a Parmesan Tuille
  • Table Bread – Sourdough with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
  • Salad – Baby Kale, Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette, Roasted Beets, and Butternut squash, Toasted Pepitas and Sesame Seeds, Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • Intermezzo – Cherry-Berry Sorbet
  • Main – Sliced Tenderloin, Butter Poached Lobster Tail, haricot verts, and Hasselback Potato Gratin
  • Dessert – Chocolate Souffle
soup for dinner for two
baby kale salad for dinner for two
sorbet for dinner for two
dinner for two main course

The CVap® Programs:

RTV705UV: Cook Time Infinite/Vapor 200°F/Air 350°F

  • Roasted Tomatoes
  • Parmesan Tuille
  • Toasted Buttered Croutons
  • Diced Butternut Squash, Roasted
  • Whole Beets, Roasted
  • Toasted and Seasoned Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds
  • Potato Gratin
  • Chocolate Souffle

RTV705: Cook Time Infinite/Vapor 200°F/Air 200°F

  • Blanched Green Beans

CHV705: Cook Time 1 Hour/Vapor 136°F /Air Sous Vide/ — Hold Time Infinite/Vapor 136°F /Air Sous Vide

  • Butter Poached Lobster Tails

CVH705: Cook Time Three (3) Hours/Vapor 130°F /Air Sous Vide/ — Hold Time Infinite/Vapor 130°F /Air Sous Vide

  • Whole, trussed, seasoned, and seared Beef Tenderloin

Drawer Holding: 140/+0

  • Tomato Basil Bisque
  • Green Beans
  • Beef Sauce

Drawer Holding: 140/+30

  • Potato Gratin

Dinner for Two – The Process

My intent with this write-up is not to share “recipes” per se. Instead, I think that the process is valuable, understanding how many different items can come together, quickly, using CVap. AND, I am not talking about 1-component dishes either. I am talking about complex, multi-ingredient, dishes with different components, textures, etc.

The main test kitchen here at the Winston factory has a full range of CVap equipment. It is always my goal, as the corporate chef, to ideate ways to execute dishes using as much CVap equipment as possible. In turn, this can be extremely valuable to you, the CVap end user. To be sure, maximizing CVap usage makes dinner for two easy. Hopefully, you can take away a few ideas here and run with them.

Soup Prep:

  1. Chargrill half of your tomatoes. Remove skins and place halves into a hotel pan.
  2. Vapor blanche the scored tomatoes. Remove skins and place them into the same hotel pan.
  3. Add large diced sweet onions in proportion to 1:10 onion to tomatoes.
  4. Next, add fresh thyme.
  5. Add a good drizzle of EVO, salt, and pepper.
  6. Roast uncovered in the 200/350°F RTV for about an hour to 90 minutes, or until the components are stewed-like and have reduced a bit.
  7. Remove pan from oven. Remove any thyme stems.
  8. Carefully transfer the mix to a blender/processor.
  9. Process (in batches).
  10. Add to taste: fresh basil, salt, and heavy cream.
  11. Transfer finished soup to 6” third pan and place into a CVap Holding Drawer set to 140/+0.

Soup Garnishes:

Parmesan Tuille –

  1. Place about 1T shredded parmesan cheese onto a silk pan/parchment-lined hotel pan.
  2. Bake in the RTV705 set to 200/350°F for about 5 – 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden around the edges.
  3. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Buttered Croutons –

  1. Dice sourdough (or any bread of choice).
  2. Toss with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place onto a lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the RTV705 set to 200/350°F for about 8 – 10 minutes or until desired.

Salad Prep:

Fresh Beets

  1. Remove tops and tails from beets.
  2. Roast in RTV705 at 200/350°F until tender – time will depend on the size of beet and desired tenderness.
  3. Allow slight cooling before removing skin and dicing as desired.
  4. Marinate with EVO, lemon, salt, and pepper.

Butternut Squash

  1. Peel, deseed, and dice the butternut squash.
  2. Toss with EVO, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bake in the RTV705 set to 200/350°F until tender and edges are browned – – time will depend on the size of cut and desire of tenderness.

Toasted Pepitas & Sesame Seeds

  1. Toss an equal amount of each seed together with EVO and choice of dry seasoning.
  2. Bake in the RTV705 set to 200/350°F for about 5 – 15 minutes or until the seeds are fragrant and slightly browned, as desired.


Intermezzo is a European tradition. This palate cleanser is intended to allow the diner to savor the meal. As is the custom, we chose a sorbet.


  • Frozen Strawberries
  • Frozen Cherries
  • Apple Juice
  • Lemon Zest

Preparation is simple. Add ingredients to blender and puree. Serve immediately, or freeze for later use.

Main Prep:

  1. Trim and truss whole tenderloin.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pre-sear on chargrill for flavor and appearance.
  4. Sous Vide in the CVH705: Cook Time 3 Hours/Vapor 130°F /Air Sous Vide/ Hold Time Infinite/Vapor 130°F /Air Sous Vide.
Beef Sauce
  • Prep as desired – I’m not going to tell you how to make a beef sauce, but I will say that it will hold like a champ in a Winston CVap Drawer @ 140/+0.
Lobster Tails
  1. Remove lobster tails from their shell and transfer to a sous vide-type bag.
  2. Add butter and choice of aromatics. We used a lemon-herb compound butter.
  3. Sous vide in the CVH705: Cook Time 1 Hour/Vapor 136°F /Air Sous Vide/ Hold Time Infinite/Vapor 136°F /Air Sous Vide.
Haricot Verts (Green Beans) Prep:
  1. Vapor blanche green beans in the RTV705: Cook Time Infinite/Vapor 200°F/Air 200°F – time will depend on the size of the product and desired tenderness.
  2. Remove from oven and shock in cold water.
  3. Finished on the induction burner with EVO, shallots, roasted red pepper, salt, and pepper – just before serving out.
  4. Hot hold in drawer: 140/+0 (with the soup and beef sauce).
Potato Gratin Prep:
  1. Serious Eats website inspired this dish –
  2. Bake in the RTV705 set to 200/350F for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Transfer to a CVap Drawer set to 140/+30 for hot holding.


Chocolate Souffle

  • Bake any souffle recipe of choice using setting 200°F/350°F.
  • **Timing for souffle is tricky. Ours took about 15 – 20 minutes to bake thoroughly. While it did deflate a bit within a few minutes of being removed from the oven, it kept its shape relatively well. I would say that these probably need to be “fired” once the main courses are expedited to the table.

Two-Top Turn & Burn

This is where the CVap advantage really comes into play. By staging these foods ahead of time, you can serve this gourmet multi-course dinner for two relatively quickly, maximizing the amount of table turns in your operation.

Estimated Timing of Plating to Serve a Two-Top:

  • Soup – Should take less than a minute to cleanly ladle and garnish.
  • Salad – Under two minutes to toss greens with dressing and top with beets, squash, seeds, and crumbled goat cheese.
  • *Drop bread and roasted pepper pesto on the table with salad.
  • Intermezzo – Less than a minute to scoop and garnish.
  • Main – You’re looking at about three minutes to plate gratin (holding), green beans (holding), slice tenderloin, slice lobster, sauce and garnish plate.
  • *Fire souffles once main dishes are completed.
  • Souffle – Plating and garnish in less than 30 seconds.
dinner for two main course

Overall, this multi-course dinner for two is simple and easy to serve for the BOH (Back of the House). It’s equally impressive for the dining couple – a win-win. Date night is back. And it’s a win for your operation.

chef samantha brown

About the Author

Chef Samantha Brown is Winston’s Corporate Research Chef. An industry veteran, she has nearly two decades of foodservice and food product R&D experience.

Chicken Stock – CVap Style

chicken stock with ladle

Here we are in the long, grey abyss that is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. When it’s frigid outside, it’s natural for us to crave comfort food. And what’s more comfortable than soup? The foundation of any great soup is stock. Accordingly, we set out to cook up some wonderful chicken stock in a CVap® oven. Of course, since it could be done overnight, it was a no muss, no fuss, no sweat process.

Most importantly, this recipe will produce quarts and quarts of stock!

The Settings

CVap Cook and Hold or Retherm Oven

  • Cook Time – 8 Hours
  • Vapor (Cook) – 180°F
  • Air (Cook) – 210°F
  • Hold Infinite
  • Vapor (Hold) – 135°F
  • Air (Hold) – 136°F


  • 50lb – Chicken Leg Quarters
  • Mirepoix – onions, celery, & carrots
  • Cold Water
chopping veggies for chicken stock
mo mirepoix for stock
mirepoix for stock
pans of veggies for chicken stock

The Chicken Stock – The Process

  1. Preheat the oven to the program above.
  2. Evenly distribute ingredients through three 6” full hotel pans (or any kind of deep pan or assortment of pans that will fit into the oven).
  3. Once everything is situated, hit the ENTER button to start the program.
  4. Go home!
  5. Come back the next morning to a beautifully simmered and clear chicken stock.
  6. Carefully remove pans from the ovens. Using tongs, remove chicken from the stock liquid. This chicken can be shredded for soup, or frozen for future use.
  7. Strain the stock through cheesecloth, to remove larger pieces of chicken, bone, and vegetable.

To be sure, the resulting  stock is outstanding. It’s nearly clear, savory, and perfect for soups. Of course, go ahead and freeze any chicken stock that you don’t use right away. It will bring you comfort long after the winter snows have melted.

chicken into pot for chicken stock
chicken for chicken stock
cooked chicken for chicken stock
strain chicken stock with cheesecloth
chicken stock cheesecloth
chicken stock

Cooking Plant-Based Meat Options

plant burgers

Plant-based proteins have trickled into retailers across the US and have been, dare we say, adopted into our everyday life.  As more people search for ways to eat healthier and reduce their impact on the environment, plant-based meat substitutes are increasing in popularity across dayparts and in multiple formats.

We wanted to test how well these retail products performed in our foodservice equipment. We purchased a variety of plant-based proteins, including burgers, breakfast sausage links and patties, breaded chicken patties, tenders and nuggets, and Italian meatballs.


The Collectramatic Fryer was set to fry all of the breaded items at 350°F; the protein patties, tenders, and spicy nuggets.

For the meatballs, breakfast patties, and sausage links we had an RTV705 Retherm Oven set to 200°F vapor/350°F air. We inserted a pan into the oven to preheat, to simulate searing for the sausage links.

We went old school on the Beyond Burger patties. They were chargrilled at medium low heat to internal temperature of 165°F.


We set the CHV705 Cook and Hold Oven to hold the crispy fried items at 135°F vapor/185°F air.

The HBB Hold and Serve Drawer was set to hold at 140°F /+4 (148°F) for all of the “softer” products: meatballs, sausage patties, sausage links, and the burgers.

We evaluated everything immediately after cooking, and again after about 40-60 minutes of holding.

beyond burgers plant burger
plant sausage patties
Incogmeato Sausage links
plant meatballs
Chicken Breast Tenders
cutting plant products


From a frying perspective – the Collectramatic fryer was on point. Products cooked perfectly, and came out crisp and golden.

The RTV oven did a great job as well on cooking the breakfast patties and links.

This was our first attempt at cooking and holding multiple plant proteins. Consequently, these settings worked very well.

We would consider tweaking the holding settings in future attempts. The vapor setting was fine. The air setting kept most of the plant-based foods well, but some items, such as the protein patties and the chicken tenders started to show some cupping, which could indicate too much drying. But their temperature held constant.

The biggest surprise was that the Beyond Burgers improved with holding. They were a bit soft and spongy when first pulled from the grill, but they firmed a bit in holding, which for us, made the texture better.

plant meatballs
plant tenders

Honestly, most of the plant-based proteins are surprisingly good. It’s amazing how closely food scientists, research & developers and manufacturers have been able to mimic the look and consistency of actual meat. The flavor on most products is good, though some of our more finicky tasters wrinkled their noses a bit at some of the flavors. Perhaps it’s best to think of these products not as being identical to their animal-based versions, but as a suitable and palatable alternative.

Four Reasons to Standardize Your Menu

standardize your menu
standardize your menu

Standardizing menus for businesses with multiple locations will save time and hassle in the long run. Typically, a research kitchen will develop a standardized menu for an organization. These menus will set the standard for brand consistency between stores. When operations follow this menu correctly, they enhance efficiencies in multi-store operations.

Four Key Ways Standardization Helps Your Operation

  1. Eliminate Local Testing – Once menu testing is complete, share the programming information to locations throughout the chain. Generally speaking, eliminating trial-and-error testing by individual operators saves food, time, and labor.
  2. Achieve Consistency  – Customers expect consistency. After all, they want their favorite dish to be the same every time they order it. Ultimately, standardization promotes consistency between stores. No guesswork means there is less room for error.
  3. Neutralize Human Factor – All in all, standardization reduces the likelihood of local staff setting equipment incorrectly. Notably, Winston’s CVap® ovens and cabinets allow controls to be locked so no one can change the settings.
  4. Reduce Labor – Overall, automating cooking processes reduces labor. Essentially, it makes it possible to do more with fewer people. Save exponentially on labor costs. After all, during these times of labor uncertainty, any tool that reduces labor is critical.

Ultimately, equipment must be programmable to achieve the maximum standardization benefits. CVap ovens and cabinets feature eight programmable channels. Program each channel to a different menu setting. Once the setpoints are standardized, upload to CVap equipment. Use a USB port or Android device (Series 7 models). After all, locking the settings prevents local staff from inadvertently changing approved settings.

Dehydrating in CVap

events grapefruit dehydrating in CVap

No, That's Not an Oxymoron

If you’re familiar with CVap®, you probably think of it as a “wet” cooking device. After all, the power behind it is derived from heated water vapor. However, it’s also great for dry processes, like dehydrating. Typically, even without water, CVap ovens hold temperatures steady.

Dehydrating calls for relatively low temperatures. After all, the goal isn’t to cook the food. It is to remove water from the food. Critically, our CVap ovens were able to maintain the low 120°Fs temperature range for the extended time necessary to complete the dehydration process.

We tested a variety of fruits and veggies and experimented with meringue as well.

Sam slicing strawberries

 Fruits & Vegetables


We wanted to test our CVap ovens by dehydrating a range of foods, including:

  • Kale – washed, de-stemmed, and torn into smaller strips
  • Strawberries – washed, de-stemmed and sliced
  • Lemon Zest – microplaned zest from fresh lemons
  • Pink Grapefruit – washed, sliced
  • Mushrooms – Shiitakes – cleaned, de-stemmed, left whole
  • Bananas – peeled, sliced


After prepping the foods, they were ready for the ovens. This was one of those rare cases where the CVap ovens were used without water. Ordinarily, CVap technology uses two heat systems: moist vapor heat and dry air heat. However, dehydrating calls for dry heat only.

Sliced Bananas
kale into oven
strawberries soaking
Slicing grape fruit
grapefruit palooza

The Settings

  • Cook Time: Infinite
  • Vapor Temp: OFF – No Water in Evaporator
  • Air Temp: Range 120-125°F (49-52°C)

The Process – Fruits and Veggies

  1. Preheat oven.
  2. Use perforated sheet pans (*Note – we used parchment paper but found that it hindered the dehydration process. For best results, do not use liners for fruits and vegetables).
  3. Place food product on the perforated pans, single layer and spaced apart. Feel free to add any flavor enhancers or seasonings to the product at this stage. We sprinkled one pan of grapefruit with granulated sugar. Sugar is hygroscopic (it tends to absorb moisture from air). Consequently, it extended the necessary dehydration time longer on that grapefruit.
  4. Place pans into the oven and start the cook cycle. Keep an eye on the products and check progress hourly. Dehydration time will vary depending on the type of product, size of product and expectation or degree of dryness.
  5. Remove product once it reaches the desired level of desiccation.

The Results

The kale maintained a beautiful dark green color. Texture was crisp and perfect for pulverizing into powder. Kale power can be used in shakes, coatings, or however you see fit!

dehydrating shrooms

The strawberries were still pliable, with a slight chew. I think this was because the naturally occurring sugar content is higher. They can used in a multitude of applications.

Lemon zest was fragrant and maintained its yellow color. Lemon zest is great for anything needing an extra kick of lemony essence (not sour or citrus but true LEMON flavor – much like an essential oil type).

Pink grapefruit turned out beautifully. It looked like little circles of stained glass.

Mushrooms were stone dry. They maintained color and shape.

Why Dehydrate?

Dehydrating is an age-old method of preserving food. Removing moisture reduces the likelihood of bacteria spoiling the food (not that our ancestors knew much about bacteria). It’s still a method of preserving, but with the advent of vacuum sealers, foods can be dried and stored. Adding their concentrated flavor to a dish is as easy as opening a bag.

pavlova meringue

Pavlova Meringue

We prepared pavlova, a type of meringue. Although named for Russian dancer Anna Pavlova, its origins are in Australian cuisine. The traditional piped shape of the dessert is supposed to be reminiscent of Anna’s voluminous dresses.


  • 12 dozen egg whites, room temp
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 T + 1t cornstarch

The Process

Whip the egg whites, slowly adding sugar until it’s completely incorporated.

Next fold in the remaining ingredients and pipe into desired shapes onto a lined sheet pan. For this pavlova, we made individual little cups, as pictured.

The Accidental Extended Test

Ok, so I was supposed to pull these lovies out of the oven immediately following the Labor Day holiday. However, I encountered an unforeseeable crisis and ended up leaving them in the oven for six days! Thankfully I gave myself some flexibility with a failsafe step. Before I left for the weekend, I turned the program down from OFF/120°F to OFF/90°F.

Although one might expect the pavlova to be ruined after a week, they were still in great shape! The results were lighter than air, sweet, crispy, and with a touch of chew! I think traditional pavlova is supposed to be more like fluffy marshmallow toward the center. That can be easily remedied by decreasing cook time! Ha!

whipping meringue
meringue in a mixer
pavlova in the oven
pavlova oven closeup
chef samantha brown

About The Author

Winston’s Corporate Research Chef Samantha Brown is an industry veteran. She holds two culinary degrees, and has nearly 20 years of foodservice experience. She’s even appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Hot Breakfast for the Whole Crew

winston crew lines up for breakfast

Sharing a meal together is something we all enjoy. It’s a tradition as old as civilization itself. Winston has a long-standing tradition of regularly sharing meals together. Of course, that tradition had to be paused during the depths of the pandemic. But as things have slowly gotten better, we wanted to sit down together once again over great food. We took precautions – face masks, pre-portioned disposable containers, and social distancing. But it was good to come together again to share breakfast together.

Not content with doughnuts and coffee, we wanted to serve a fresh, hot breakfast for our 200+ team members. Chef Sam took advantage of our CVap equipment’s ability to bulk cook, then stage hot food ahead of time. She single-handedly fed all our Winston crew (with just a little help from a few other folks in portioning, serving, and cleaning up).

The menu included a variety of breakfast quiches, baked apple oatmeal, freshly proofed and baked cinnamon rolls, and fruit cups (along with a few pre-packaged sides). Although the menu had lots of variety, we’re only going to detail the preparation of the scratch dishes.

winston crew lines up for breakfast


Settings – CHV or RTV 05 ovens

  • Cook Time: 70 – 90 minutes
  • Vapor Temp – Cook: 200°F
  • Air Temp – Cook: 350°F


For Two Hotels Pans – Quiche Base
  • 5 Cups Bisquick
  • 10 Cups Milk
  • 20 Large Eggs
For 12 Hotel Pans
  • 30 Cups Bisquick
  • 60 Cups (3.75 gallons) Milk
  • 120 Large Eggs
Mix all the ingredients together, thoroughly. Distribute equally between number of pans you’re making.

Flavors – Small Batch:

We tested the product a week prior to our team breakfast and used ingredients we already had around; sausage, cream cheese, and a few veggies. If you are using fresh vegetables, it is advantageous to pre- or par-cook them to release some extra moisture, condense the flavors and to tenderize texture. On the two-pan batch we sauteed the veggies. But for the larger batch to feed the masses, we CVap roasted the veggies (Vapor 200°F/Air 350°F).

For the team, we made a variety of quiche, to suit all palates.

  • All Pork – sausage, bacon, and ham with Monterey jack
  • Smoked Brisket – with sharp cheddar and zucchini
  • Krab & Cream Cheese – with onions and peppers
  • Veggie – with cream cheese and cheddar, onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes & spinach
Sam prepping breakfast
Sam making breakfast
uncooked quiche for breakfast
quiche for breakfast
breakfast quiche

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Settings: CHV or RTV 05 Ovens

  • Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
  • Vapor Temp – Cook: 200°F
  • Air Temp – Cook: 350°F


For Five Hotels Pans
  • 45 Cups Old Fashion Oats
  • 1T + 1t Salt
  • 2/3 Cup (10T) Cinnamon
  • 2/3 Cup (10T) Baking Soda
  • 5 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 30 Large Eggs
  • 2 Cups Olive Oil
  • 1 Gallon (16 Cups) Milk
  • 8 Cups Applesauce
  • 10 Cups Apple Juice
Mix all the ingredients together, thoroughly. Distribute equally between number of pans you’re making. Bake as directed.

Overall, the results were fantastic. The quiche was rich, savory and loaded with premium ingredients. And the baked apple oatmeal was as familiar and comforting as it was moist and flavorful. Whether you’re feed ten or 230, CVap ovens make it possible to crank out lots of food, with minimal labor!

mixing oats for breakfast
breakfast batter into pan
Oatmeal in pan
baked apple oatmeal breakfast
Fruit Cup

Trouble Hiring Workers? Hire a CVap Instead

labor shortage makes for long lines

After more than 15 crazy months, which felt more like 15 crazy years, consumers are back. They’re ready to throw their cash at you for the opportunity to grab some food and get back to normal. Are you ready when customers come your way?

Over the last few weeks, I have waited ten minutes or more in line at fast food drive-thru lanes,  and waited for 30 minutes in a fast-casual restaurant (with plenty of open tables in view). I want to give you my money, but it is tiring. And I am tempted to go elsewhere.

I’ve watched others look at the drive-thru line or hear the wait at a restaurant and leave, taking their money with them.

labor issues stretch drive thru lines

Look, I get it. Hiring is miserable right now. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index, which measures the total cost of employee compensation, shows the largest three-month increase in service employee compensation in over a decade! Who would have thought pay for service employees would turn into an arms race: $12, $13, $14 or more, plus hiring bonuses? It feels unsustainable. Even when you increase prices, you’re still not optimizing your cash flow or bottom line. Your business model wasn’t built for this.

Winston CVap® equipment is here to help. Full-time employees can cost you $58,000 or more per year, if you can hire and keep them. In comparison, four stacked CVap ovens can do the same work at one-fifth of the price. That’s what one of Winston’s biggest clients learned. They initially purchased two stacked oven pairs for a single location. When they realized the benefits and labor savings, they installed the same stacked oven pair in every restaurant in their system.

You have a choice: adapt or fall behind. Adapting means investing in a solution that will ease hiring difficulties, get more food to customers, and save money. And falling behind is just that – watching your competition win the race for labor, profits, and customers.

labor shortages upset customers